Tim and collaborators at Aarhus University and University College London got their research work on calming children during blood sampling procedures accepted at DIS 2017.
Blood sampling is a common and necessary procedure in the treatment and diagnosis of a variety of diseases. However, it often results in painful and stressful experiences for children. Designed together with domain experts, Pufferfish is a breath-controlled biofeedback game technology with bespoke airflow sensor that aims to calm children during blood sampling procedures. An initial randomized controlled trial was conducted in which 20 children aged 6-11 were assigned to one of two conditions involving either passive distraction (watching a video) or active distraction using the Pufferfish prototype. We present quantitative results demonstrating the effectiveness of our active distraction technique. Together with qualitative feedback from patients, parents, and medical staff we identify key aspects impacting the acceptance of breath-based active distraction and future system refinements. Our study highlights the potential of non-pharmacological assistive technology tools to reduce fear and pain for children undergoing painful or stressful medical treatment.
Sonne, T., Merritt, T.R., Marshall, P., Lomholt, J., Müller, J., and Grønbæk, K. 2017. Calming Children When Drawing Blood Using Breath-based Biofeedback. In Proc. DIS 2017, (to appear).